Well, you probably knew that already, but guess what?
He may be getting even better, if that’s possible.
Last year, he had a 3.18 ERA in 130.1 innings on the mound, with a 29.3 percent strikeout rate and a 3.52 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP).
However, he has taken it up a notch in 2022, at least so far.
Uh-oh, Ohtani is getting better!
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) May 11, 2022
For starters, Ohtani is throwing harder on average: his four-seam fastball is almost two mph faster than last year, at 97.2 mph.
His stuff looks crisper, too: last year, he had a 20.8 percent whiff rate, and this time it is all the way up to 25.8 percent.
As a consequence, his results on the mound have improved.
Can He Possibly Get Better? Yes, He Can!
At the moment, after making five starts, he has a 3.08 ERA, but a 1.54 FIP.
The most impressive part of this statistical profile is how much his strikeout percentage has improved: it is at 38 percent at the moment.
Yes, the sample is really small, but he also looks better after each outing.
The last time he took the mound, he stymied the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park with seven scoreless innings and 11 strikeouts.
Last year, his swinging strike rate was 12.9 percent: this year, it has gone up to an incredible 17.5 percent.
We may be about to witness a truly remarkable season, perhaps even better than what he did in 2021.
In any case, the Angels’ priority should be keeping him healthy for a potential stretch run and postseason, an instance they have not seen since 2014.
That may prompt them to manage his workload on the mound, but as long as he can avoid injuries, we may be in for a truly amazing, historic season by the two-way star.